Zhaozhou taught, “’The greatest way isn’t difficult if you don’t pick and choose.’ As soon as I speak, you’ll think, ‘That’s picking and choosing,’ or ‘That’s clear.’ But I don’t identify with clarity. Can you live like that?”
A student asked, “If you don’t identify with clarity, what do you live by?”
“I don’t know.”
“If you don’t know, why do you say that you don’t identify with clarity?”
“When you ask the question you already have it. Make your bow and step back.”
– Blue Cliff Record, Case 2
Here is a curation of sesshin dharma talks on a single page, for easy finding and listening. A sesshin is always more than the sum of its parts or its recorded talks. There are morning rituals, greetings, incense passed magically through the screen, the changing light, rich silences, moments of humor, tech gremlins, tears, synchronicities, dogs barking, dreams, and awakenings that we share. It is the timeless play of the universe, with each other. As recorded in the PZI Digital Temple, June 22-27, 2021.
You are a stowaway in a wild koan journey of picking & choosing, told by John Tarrant. He recounts the adventures, awakenings and conversations of the great teachers that were gathered at the Blue Cliff with Yuanwu.
Second evening talk of Summer Sesshin 2021: John Tarrant introduces the great master of the Blue Cliff and the great questions and koans of his awakening.
Everybody, every time, has its own difficulty and crisis. This is ours. We can trust our own lives that brought us here, and perhaps we have something to do here. And we don’t know what that is but we’ll find it as we keep walking. The thing about the meditation path is, I don’t have to think a lot about what’s mine to do. You just give yourself to the meditation, and it’s produced for you. It’s given to you. The path opens by itself, you know. Transcript of PZI Zen Online Sunday Talk with John Tarrant, recorded March 29 2020.
Hanging Lanterns in the Autumn Valley with John Tarrant. The Valley Spirit is holding us—the mother deep. A big moment in our time, post-election. How to cope with Bad Emperors and accord with change. What is my place in the mandala? Finding joy in the thusness of things in all circumstances. Not seeing the light is also the light. “What is medicine? Bring me something that is not medicine.” Bring me something that is not the light! PZI Zen Online, as recorded Nov. 8, 2020.
PZI Zen Online – The pandemic alter the usual ways we choose. What is ‘picking’ and ‘choosing’? When does choice occur? When do I ‘not choose’ but say yes to life’s flow? David recounts many of life ‘yeses’ before thinking picking or choosing. How we find what we don’t think we are looking for.
PZI Zen Online Audio: Includes John’s intro and koan, a long meditation segment with Jordan McConnell on guitar. John gives the koan and other guidance throughout the meditation segment followed by a talk and comments. Closing bells, violin, & 4 vows with PZI Cantor Amaryllis Fletcher. As recorded March 29, 2020.